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Ideal Hero

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There's a reason Kenshiro is known as "The Savior of Century's End."

"And the reason that she loved him was the reason I loved him too.
And he never wondered what was right or wrong. He just knew."
David Crosby and Phil Collins, "Hero"

Bob is a hero.

Scratch that. Bob is the hero.

He fights with honor — he never kicks opponents while they're down or uses dirty tricks to win a confrontation. If he takes to the battlefield, he fights with appropriate force and despairs having to see any bloodshed. His goodness is genuine, not some con, and he will always make the right choice even when people would never know he made the wrong one. He looks out for the little guy, stands up for what's morally correct, and serves as the role model for heroes — being their standard-bearer, in many ways — and as a beacon of character for villains — even prompting some of them to give up their immoral ways.

The Ideal Hero is seen quite often in stories set on the idealistic side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. Oftentimes, the Ideal Hero in such stories will get rewarded, and plentifully so, for being a good guy through and through. What's more, he never struggles with himself, being The Hero from sunrise to sunset.

In more cynical stories, however, things are not that simple. Usually, the Ideal Hero does what he does because it's the right way to live. He gets rewarded for it less often (sometimes far less often). What's more, he may even struggle with himself to make the right choice — but usually makes the right choice in the end.

When executed poorly, an Ideal Hero can exemplify any of an array of the worst of good guy tropes, like Stupid Good, Lawful Stupid, and — in the worst cases — even a Knight Templar who refuses to allow any deviation from his strict moral code.

At one time, probably a Dead Horse Trope, but the Ideal Hero has been subverted and deconstructed to the point that it's experiencing a quiet resurgence of popularity, mostly as a Reconstruction, but sometimes simply played straight.

One more interesting aspect is that they are Born Lucky which lets them be an All-Loving Hero who often inspires others to do good deeds. Which also means they are a Born Winner. See also: Black Hole Sue, where they use their charisma to calm down people, inspire people and save society to create a Utopia.

May overlap with Incorruptible Pure Pureness. Sub-Trope to The Idealist. Super-Trope to All-Loving Hero, The Cape, Knight in Shining Armor, and Captain Patriotic. Almost always a Humble Hero. While The Hero is often an Ideal Hero, the former is the role a character occupies in a group while the latter is a character personality. See also Standardized Leader. Contrast Anti-Hero, a hero with character flaws, and Complete Monster, a villain who is pure evil. Foil of the Card-Carrying Villain or his more melodramatic counterpart Dastardly Whiplash. Can overlap to some degree with one of either Martial Pacifist, Technical Pacifist, or Actual Pacifist.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Asta from Black Clover has a very strong sense of justice, considering it his duty to protect commoners with weak magic and convincing even his enemies to atone for their misdeeds. After meeting Asta, Zora considers him the one closest to what he believes to be a true Magic Knight. His actions inspire his fellow squadmates to take their duties more seriously and even other Magic Knights, who try to become more courageous and moral like him.
  • Captain Harlock: In spite of a government that actively tries to stop him, a world that sees him as little more than a common criminal, Harlock still remains firmly on the side of good. He fights for everyone's freedom, not merely his own, and he will continue to fight until all that remains are his bones. Even the incident that cost him his eye won't stop him; the man is that dedicated to his ideals and what he stands for, such that even losing part of his sight is only a minor deterrent in the end.
  • Deconstructed in Code Geass by Suzaku Kururugi — Suzaku ticks off all the checkmarks of this type of hero, but unlike in other mecha series, he's serving The Empire. His attempts to be heroic and appeal to others just make him come off as a colossal hypocrite.
  • Kyojuro Rengoku from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba embodies what it should mean to be a Demon Slayer, displaying incredible strength and skill that inspires others to grow stronger, unwavering courage and conviction to protect the innocent, a friendly and encouraging personality that puts others at ease and an open-minded point of view that allowed him to easily accept Nezuko despite his initial misgivings. The other Hashira deeply respect him for his qualities.
  • Fist of the North Star:
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Akira Toriyama seemed to be unable to decide if Goku is this or a (thoroughly benign and heroic) Blood Knight Manchild. Specifically, Goku himself fulfills the trope by being the best man you'll ever meet or hear of but will focus on his training to the exclusion of everything else, sometimes including family. This is justified by Earth coming under regular attack by superbeings both terrestrial and extraterrestrial, and the fact that Goku is, in practice, the Big Good of the universe at the end of the series (he's kinda busy sometimes). Goku also tends to fall under a mild case of Adaptational Heroism. In the dub and even in the Japanese anime, Goku's heroics are played up more. Toriyama originally wanted Goku to be a hero, but a somewhat questionable and selfish hero who grows stronger not to protect others, but to fight stronger people. He even says that he wanted people to wonder if Goku is really a good person. That changed a bit after Character Development took over and Goku became more heroic and unquestionably good. He is still selfish and will put a good fight above the safety of the world, but his heart is usually in the right place.
    • Gohan parodies one when he's dressed as the Great Saiyaman in Dragon Ball Z. When he's in Super Hero mode, he's a mixture of Power Rangers and Superman with his poses and grand speeches. When he's not in costume he is closer to a Classical Anti-Hero because of his self-doubt in his ability.
  • Jonathan Joestar of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood, being a Kenshiro expy himself. Heart of gold? Check. Incorruptible Pure Pureness? Check. The Fettered? Check. Hell, his first and last actions in the manga are those of heroism: trying (and failing) to beat up a group of boys who were harassing Erina, and using his dying breath to destroy the ship he's on, taking him and Dio with it, yet still embracing his brother with love rather than hatred in spite of everything that went down between them. It really says something when Dio considers him Too Good for This Sinful Earth.
  • Maka Albarn from Soul Eater eventually becomes this. She starts out a bit short-tempered, but over time, becomes a responsible, courageous, strong, caring, kind, honorable, intelligent, and selfless young girl.
  • Definitely Yusei Fudo from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's. He wins every duel, is level-headed, always plays by the rules, always looks out for those in trouble, and generally ends up being liked by any non-villain who holds more than three minutes of conversation with him.
  • Digimon Fusion: Taiki Kudo would count. He lives to help anyone in need, refuses to "turn his back on anyone", and strongly believes in the good of people and digimon.
  • Daiya Tsuwubuki of Gaiking: Legend of Daiku Maryu always fights fair, never loses sight of his goal, and always tries to help people in his actions. He never uses deception or trickery and despises those that do.
  • One-Punch Man:
    • While he's definitely more pragmatic and battle-hungry than most on this list, Saitama is increasingly like this after undergoing Character Development, finding a point to his otherwise completely unsatisfying heroic career by being a model to other heroes: humble, just, and kind to people who deserve it. Which, given how he originally wanted to be a hero to get famous, is a rather large shift.
    • Mumen Rider also deserves mention, being brave, noble, and always willing to put his life on the line to protect the innocent, even though he's just an average man with a bicycle and absolutely no superpowers. He's also one of the few people who knows that Saitama is a good man, as seen in the aftermath of the Undersea King story arc.
    • The concept of the Ideal Hero ultimately proves to be part of Garou's motivation. Ever since he was a kid, he always found the villains of his cartoons and stories more interesting than the heroes but could never truly "like" them because, well, they were evil. Between bland and unlikeable heroes and interesting but unempathizable villains, Garou wanted to change that, but couldn't convince himself he had what it took to be an Ideal Hero. He ultimately decided to become a monster and defeat those "fake" heroes so that humanity would be forced to bring out true Ideal Heroes to fight him.
  • In Endride, among the Ignauts there seems to be the idea that Demetrio can do no wrong. He's heroic, fair, talented in a fight but an advocate for non-violent change, and wants to empower the disadvantaged despite coming from the nobility himself.
  • All Might from My Hero Academia is a loving pastiche of American comic book heroes (mostly Superman), and boy does it show. He is explicitly used as society's model for how a professional hero should behave, and the degree to which other 'pros' fall short of his example is frequently discussed in-universe.
  • Sailor Venus in the manga version of Sailor Moon is a Subversion: she's very close to one, always doing the right thing even at her own detriment (including, apparently, her own mental health) and being Sailor Moon's role model for a reason, but the "Dream" arc shows that she outright needs her teammates' admiration, and realizing they're now considering the Outer Senshi as role models in her place (and not realizing it's because they see her as too good for them to be able to learn) drives her to extreme frustration and anger (not that she shows it, at least until she snaps) and rash decisions. That said, she actively tries to be this, trying to always be a role model, and even when she snaps at her teammates the worst she does is to shout before going to try and take it out on the villains.
    • Sailor Moon eventually becomes one at the end of the manga, cementing herself in this role when she doesn't destroy the Cauldron and gives Sailor Cosmos the hope to win her battle back in the future. Notably, she's the one Sailor Soldier who continued to hold Sailor Venus as a role model (partly because she was the first to see through her facade and not holding her as too good), and the side stories show that they sometime go around superheroing together with Sailor Moon as the sidekick.
  • Touma Kamijou from A Certain Magical Index claims he's a Heroic Neutral, but otherwise he fits the mold. The guy will do anything, say anything, help anyone, fight anyone (gender be damned), and throw himself in front of any person who is in need simply because he wants to. His Incorruptible Pure Pureness is so intense that he's even gotten multiple (and in some cases, all-powerful) villains to join his side. Quite a few who know him sometimes wonder if he's got a very bad case of Heroic Self-Deprecation.
  • In Fate/Apocrypha, Saber of Black, aka Siegfried, was basically what Shirou Emiya wanted to grow up to be. He spent his whole life serving and saving people and never regretted it. Like Shirou, this is deconstructed when he realizes he never had any real desires of his own and decides to be more selfish. That his "selfish" act consisted of him tearing out his own heart to save someone he had just met when there were no other options and because he wanted to to save that person when no one else ordered him to tells you everything you need to know about his character.
  • Star Saber of Transformers Victory. Finds an orphaned kid? The guy adopts him. Leader of the Dinoforce offers his life for the rest of his team's? He'll show mercy to the whole group. Yeah, he qualifies.
  • Sora/Cure Sky of Hirogaru Sky! Pretty Cure is a Deconstruction. Inspired by Skyland’s Captain Shalala, she trained her body to be a hero, ready to do good deeds… and because she Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training, she’s completely awkward and unable to adjust: she had a Friendless Background because she was too focused on training, can become overprotective, habitually Cannot Tell a Lie, blowing her secret identity a couple of times and when Battamonda puts Sora in a Sadistic Choice involving Shalala, Sora suffers a Heroic BSoD and loses her dreams and powers, an act even the most panic-proned heroines of the franchise would never fall into.
  • While the heroines of Madoka Magica and its various spinoffs tend to be heroic and good in their own ways, most of them do not reach this trope. The one exception is one who was only briefly seen in the original series, Tart, better known as Joan of Arc. Barring a few flaws played mostly for comedy, Tart is one of the most singularly moral characters in the franchise: she's kind, self-sacrificing, brave, strong-willed, genuine in her attitudes, empathetic, and never compromises her beliefs or who she is. She's so noble and pure in fact that her Soul Gem never corrupts from despair and dark thoughts, only because she simply is so powerful she burns through magic at an extreme pace without help.

  • Charity (Bouguereau): Charity is selfless to a fault, taking care of children who aren't hers because that's the right thing to do. At the time this painting was made, adoption was nearly an alien concept, especially if you weren't the kid's relative.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman, consistently, but given an especially provocative portrayal in Kingdom Come, where Superman plays this trope straight, subverts, and reconstructs it all over the course of the story. In fact, that ends up being the way they challenge the Invincible Hero in many of his better stories, putting things in front of him that could legitimately compel him to break this character type or putting him up against less ideal sort of hero (frequently Batman) to make a case for being an ideal hero versus being a more "pragmatic" hero. Some of his most crippling defeats were victorious battles that could only be won by breaking one of his rules.
  • Supergirl is usually torn between her desire to become the same kind of selfless, responsible, and brave hero as her cousin is versus her responsibilities given by her incredible powers as well as her longing to live a normal life like a regular girl/woman. Although she always makes mistakes and missteps, she eventually develops into this.
  • Nightwing plays this absolutely straight. Despite being a Badass Normal without the advantages of other characters, he's a compassionate idealist to the degree that Superman admires him (check Supes out beaming like a proud parent). As put it, "while Batman fights in the name of vengeance, Nightwing does it because it’s the right thing to do."
  • DC Comics' Captain Marvel:
    • During the Bronze Age and Modern Age, Billy became characterized as even more ideal and pure than Superman. Superman felt pressure as The Ace and The Paragon to get things done since everyone looked to him for aid. Captain Marvel, however, always did what he thought was right and utterly refused to compromise that in any way.
    • New 52 Billy Batson, while rougher around the edges than pre-52 Billy, is still inherently a good kid, no matter how hard he tries to be a brat to other people. He puts on a tough act but he is very much a child. Half of the job of the Justice League (notably Cyborg) is trying to get him to grow up and realize how much good he can do with his powers instead of creating ping-pong tables from thin air.
  • Captain America is Marvel Comics' moral equivalent to Superman. Little wonder, then, that the two would be combined into the character Super-Soldier in the Amalgam Universe.
  • Spider-Man is mostly this in his own series and team-ups, aside from doubting himself, being a goofy motor mouth and being generally awkward, he is Marvel's most lovable and warm-hearted hero who always does the selfless and right thing for anyone and anything in his career only second or rivaling the Captain himself and in the future is destined to be the greatest hero of all (according to Cable).
  • Tintin, a teenage detective/reporter. He'd risk his life to save yours, even if you just tried to kill him not five minutes prior; he's just that noble and uncompromising on his principles. In spite of being that forgiving towards his enemies, he's also a textbook case of Good Is Not Dumb.
  • Asterix is one of these - kind, does the right thing all the time, won't fight physically unless there are no better options even though he has super strength, always stands up for people who are suffering, and plays by the rules. However, he also has a sneaky side, especially in earlier stories.
  • Power & Glory is all about playing with and subverting this trope. While A-Pex may resemble an all-American superheroic ideal, it's all a media manipulation job by his government creators, and the real person is far from an ideal anything.
  • The Silver Agent of Astro City is the paragon of the heroic ideal that all other heroes strive to reach for. His heroic influence is powerful enough to inspire others millennia after his death.
  • Surprisingly, considering her genetic progenitor, X-23 is increasingly becoming more and more like this. Although raised to be a Living Weapon and constantly having to fight against her Tyke Bomb conditioning, Laura is selfless, idealistic, and constantly searches for something noble to aspire to and be inspired by, to the point she almost breaks down when she finds herself in the shit-hole that is the Ultimate Universe and realizes that there are actually places even worse than her home reality. No matter the situation, she will always try to do the right thing.
  • Mirek Dušín in Rychlé šípy is basically the Czech prototype of an ideal hero in children's comics/literature: always trying to do the right thing, helping others, not using swearwords... It's done entirely on purpose.
  • Wonder Woman was created to be one of the most compassionate and loving heroes on Earth. On at least two occasions it has been stated Wonder Woman loves everyone on Earth. Some writers have depicted Diana as being more bloodthirsty, ruthless, and misandrist, but her default portrayal is basically being a nice person who only wants to make the world a better place.

    Fan Works 
  • Code Prime simultaneously deconstructs and reconstructs this with Suzaku and Optimus Prime, respectively.
  • Deconstructed in Dangan Ronpa: Assassinating Friendship: Komaeda wants nothing more than to find an ideal hero in order to support them with his incredible Luck. But he holds candidates to an impossibly high standard, as seen with Amami — he supported him in his last killing game, only to be bitterly disappointed by how he sacrificed himself to ensure Komaeda survived. Any moments of doubt, dismay, or general human weakness cause him to dismiss the one who wavered as just another example of 'Hopeless garbage'.
  • Fortune Favors the Brave deconstructs this with both of its protagonists:
    • Alya believes that all heroes should act like the American ones she's familiar with, to the point that the only reason she doesn't expose her own Secret Identity is that Plagg convinces her that she'll lose the Ring upon exposure. Her single-minded drive to be the best hero she possibly can causes her to neglect the civilian sides of her life, and she treats her partner poorly for not conforming precisely to HER ideals.
    • Tikki holds her bearers to impossibly high standards. After Nino has a close encounter with an akuma butterfly, she scolds him about how he needs to be 'emotionally mature' and repress his feelings as much as possible, getting upset when he calls her out and makes clear that he won't destroy himself on her say-so.
  • A Supe of a Man: This fic offers a Reconstruction with Superman–despite the bleak world he lives in, a combination of loving parents and a protective aunt ensured he'd be the same Big Blue Boy Scout. Clark is kind, brave, compassionate, idealistic, a total Nice Guy, The Paragon, a Martial Pacifist, a Consummate Professional, and just plain good. This puts him at odds with the local variety of superheroes–especially Homelander–but he quickly inspires others with his unambiguous example of what a Superhero should be.
  • Last Child of Krypton: In this story Shinji is half-kryptonian. Since his powers began manifesting he used them to try to help people because he is genuinely good, caring, and kind-hearted, and hates seeing people hurt and suffering. In one instance Kaji notes that despite of being a tad cynical he really believes Shinji when he tells he would never hurt people and he only wants to help.
  • Played for Laughs in The Last Son, when J. Jonah Jameson meets Superman for the first time:
    J. Jonah Jameson: My God, that's what a hero is supposed to look like! Red-and-blue, the colors of a real hero! And talk about stature: why, one glare from him would make the Kingpin wet himself! And no mask! Takes a real man to show his face, and not hide behind some glorified ski mask!
    Peter Parker: Mr. Jameson...I thought you said you were through trashing Spider-Man...
    J. Jonah Jameson: One step at a time, Parker. One step at a time.
  • My Hero Academia: The Story of Convertance: The entire point of the story is that the main protagonist Kianna Takashi becomes this by the end of the story.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: As she undergoes Character Development Asuka begins to truly try to live up to this lofty ideal. At the beginning, she becomes Supergirl to earn a bit of extra praise, but later she realizes everyone automatically thinks that she is a paragon of morality and decency because she has those powers, and she really does not want to let anybody down.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Incredibles: The Parr family, aka The Incredibles. Sure, they have their minor flaws, but they are all extremely determined, heroic, and more than willing to risk their lives to fight against any serious threat.
    • Stratogale's NSA file describes her as altruistic.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Fix-It Felix Jr. is the ideal hero. The film satirizes the cliché, tedious personality of the ideal hero.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • This is deconstructed in The Dark Knight. Batman tries to be hero that Gotham needs but all he does is inspire wackos to put on masks and become supervillains. In the end, he destroys his own reputation and turns Harvey Dent into the "hero that Gotham needs".
  • Godzilla: Mothra is an ideal hero, as she represents compassion and respect for humanity's right to live. This can mainly be interpreted by the fact that she is primarily guided by the Shobijin, two twin fairies who sympathize and often befriend numerous humans.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Steve Rogers had the core from the start; it's why he was chosen to be Captain America because the super serum would only enhance his overwhelmingly positive qualities. In later films, Steve's idealism clashes with the pragmatism of the 21st century. Steve thinks in terms of black-and-white; even the slightest gray to him is immediately treated as black at the earliest opportunity. Whether this attitude is right or wrong is up for interpretation (in Civil War in particular), but Steve is trying as hard as he can to do good. Zemo notes in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier that the reason no one was ever able to create another hero like Steve was that no one else was as incorruptible as him.
    • Raimi-Verse Spider-Man is this in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Not only is he the most confident, experienced, and idealistic of the three cinematic Spider-Man so far but he also consistently appears Older and Wiser, with a relatively normal personal life compared to the troubled Webb-Verse Peter. He's humble, encourages both of his counterparts (particularly Webb-Verse Spider-Man, insisting that he's not lame, he's "amazing"), he believes in redeeming Norman Osborn — which doesn't sit well with MCU Peter until he casually says, "Gotta cure 'em all, right?" — and steps in to stop MCU Peter from executing the Goblin. When it's time for them to part ways, he leaves MCU Peter with a gentle Think Nothing of It that also reminds the young hero of his responsibilities.
      Peter 1: Hey, uh, I think this is it — I think you're about to go home! But I, uh— thank you. I just wanted to tell you that, uh— that I-I really don't know how to say this, but... I want you to know that I'm...
      Peter 3: Peter.
      Peter 2: You know. It's what we do.
  • Mary Poppins is explicitly stated to be "practically perfect in every way".
  • Caesar in the The Planet of the Apes, along with being Messianic Archetype, provides a contrast to the bleak setting by being compassionate, highly opposed to killing, revenge, and war, and extremely forgiving, always attempting to find the most peaceful solution possible to a problem. His decisions are always motivated by his love for both apes and humans and his fundamental belief in freedom for everyone. He wavers in War by becoming obsessed with revenge, but he ultimately can't bring himself to go through with it and chooses to help his people, dying a legendary hero to his people.
  • RoboCop remains an upstanding upholder of the law, even if his creators don't.
  • Star Wars: Luke Skywalker was designed to be one, at least until Return of the Jedi where he gets progressively more prone to fits of murderous rage, just like Anakin. Contrast him to Han Solo, and especially to his own father. While Luke wanted to save Leia out of sympathy, Han only did so because Luke promised that Leia is a rich princess who would reward Han. Seeing Luke fall into defeat and despair in The Last Jedi is a hard pill to take - especially to Mark Hamill!
  • X-Men Film Series: Played with in Professor X's case. On the one hand, he's an All-Loving Hero who wishes to preserve life, he practices For Happiness as part of his daily routine, he's brimming with compassion, hope, and love, his Goal in Life is for mutants and humans to live together in harmony, he endeavours to induce a Heel–Face Turn in Magneto and Mystique, and he was a Wide-Eyed Idealist when he was younger. However, Xavier periodically slips into moral lapses when his dread over a likely disaster overrides his good nature, such as burying the Phoenix deep inside Jean Grey's subconscious without her awareness or permission. In between 1963 and 1973, he undergoes a Heroic BSoD which degenerates him into a junkie hermit who doesn't give a rat's ass about anything (besides alcohol and the addictive Power Nullifier serum) or anyone (besides his caregiver Hank). Charles breaches his once-sacred Thou Shalt Not Kill principle in X-Men: Apocalypse when the eponymous villain leaves him with no other solution to Save the World.

  • Ward of Hurog is this, being just flawed enough to be believable. His Incorruptible Pure Pureness is resistant to severe parental abuse, and everything else he goes through.
  • Michael, a Knight of the Cross, in The Dresden Files plays with this. Michael is a Paladin who wields a Holy Sword that represents Love. He will give the shirt on his back to anyone who is in need, and willing to take the place of a friend in a dire situation because that person is in need of help. From the POV character Harry Dresden, who is a Knight in Sour Armor, Combat Pragmatist, and willing to do evil things for a good cause, he views Michael as an Ideal Hero. To him, Michael doesn't let his wrath control him, a frequent issue with Harry. Michael has compassion for his greatest enemies and would stop trying to kill a murderous sociopath who was knocked unconscious on the chance he could seek redemption, while Harry would keep on strangling until he was good and sure the man was dead. To Harry, Michael is a combination of big brother and father figure for Harry and so is placed on a high pedestal. Michael, who knows his heart, and Archangel Uriel both know Michael is actually an Anti-Hero because he does have his flaws. His biggest one is his capability to be consumed by wrath when his family is involved. When a Well-Intentioned Extremist Catholic Priest kidnaps one of Michael's daughters and tries to justify killing her and Harry by claiming it is God's Plan, Michael comes within an inch of beating the man to death with a baseball bat. Harry stays him by offering to kill the man if it is actually needed. This is enough for Michael to think and then calm down enough to grant the man mercy.
  • Mr. Knightley of Emma is a highly idealized English gentleman. He is the local magistrate who always deals fairly with his tenants and servants, such that they respect him enough to ask his opinion on personal matters and have private disputes on how best to look after his interests. He is charitable, unfailingly polite to his most trying neighbors without letting himself be walked over, and is also the only person who loves Emma while also being able to see her flaws.
  • R. A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realms character Drizzt Do'Urden, the heroic dark elf ranger who rebelled against the evil of his people and fled to the surface world, where he had to overcome a huge amount of prejudice, but always remained unquestioningly true to the ideal in his heart that made him rebel in the first place.
  • Snow White in Magical Girl Raising Project, is considered this by most people. By the end of the first arc, she was the only one who did not kill anybody during Cranberry's game. This is later pushed even further after the first arc in Snow White Raising Project, even after everything Pythie has done, Snow White still chose to spare her. Despite what most magical girls would say about her, she is far from ideal.
  • The Odyssey features Odysseus, who may well be the Trope Maker, making it Older Than Dirt. However, in The Iliad he's not so admirable. And in ancient times Odysseus had detractors, who thought that an Ideal Hero shouldn't rely so much on guile. Actually, it's pretty debatable if he's this trope, but he is the Trope Maker. Why? Well, Greeks had different ideals than this website and the current world, so while Odysseus is the perfect Greek Hero, to us modern readers he can really seem like a sneaky, selfish Jerk with a Heart of Gold as opposed to this. It's just Values Dissonance, really.
    • It's not just modern audiences who sometimes take issue with Odysseus. The Romans considered him "deceitful Ulysses" and much preferred the Trojans to the mainland Greeks in general.
  • Although Solomon Kane is typically classified as an Anti-Hero, he could arguably fall under this instead. He never compromises his principles, nor does he question what the proper course of action is when he encounters someone who needs help (or, if they are beyond help, someone who deserves to be avenged). In The Blue Flame of Vengeance, he even tries to talk one of the villains into giving up the fight and walking away from the evil men said villain has entangled himself with; when the villain refuses to accept his offer and subsequently dies, Solomon becomes visibly grieved.
  • Knaves on Waves gives us Captain Trigger, an absolute gentleman who is kind to all. Interestingly, he's acknowledged as such In-Universe, a fact that others directly attempt to exploit.
  • Simona Ahrnstedt usually gives her characters some flaws, even if they're not villains. And the only male exception is Johan Stierneskanz from Överenskommelser. He's basically perfect and flawless, the lily-white Nice Guy in a story with three jet-black villains.
  • In the series Acacia the Acacian prince Aliver Akaran - the man is compassionate, honours his word, forgives his enemies without hesitation...etc. He dies for that, but gets better in the end before dying again though not before reforming the Acacian empire and bringing world peace
  • A Song of Ice and Fire deconstructs this. The Starks (including Ned Stark’s illegitimate son Jon Snow) and Daenerys Targaryen follow a moral code modern readers find commendable and they all possess great compassion but — just because they’re good — it doesn’t mean things are going to go well for them and their morality/heroism can also make them very judgmental to those who can't be too moral. At the same time, it gains them followers whose loyalties are absolute, as (in the case of the Stark family) the Boltons are finding out, and they are able to save and protect lives when successful.
    • Ser Davos Seaworth (later Lord Seaworth) is very much this. He loves his wife and sons, shows Undying Loyalty to his King Stannis, his Brutal Honesty so impressing Stannis he is named Hand of the King, and he acts as a Morality Pet to Stannis, trying to talk him out of doing bad things and smuggling Edric Storm of Dragonstone for fear Stannis will burn them. Davos was a smuggler before the series, though.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Percy Jackson, though reckless and mischievous, is still undoubtedly this. Even his Fatal Flaw (excessive loyalty to his friends) only reinforces how heroic he is. The Darker and Edgier The Heroes of Olympus Sequel Series makes him into more of an Anti-Hero by playing up his fatal flaw.
  • Corporal Carrot in Discworld, in stark contrast with the series' typical more cynical (though nevertheless undoubtedly heroic) protagonists. The narration in Men at Arms mentions that for an ordinary person, being as honourable as Carrot is in Ankh-Morpork would be suicidally idiotic, but Carrot gets away with it because he's really, incredibly, almost superhumanly likable.
  • The Bible: Jesus, obviously, and also Job, who is explicitly stated to be a flawless man.
  • Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird represents the ideal of what a human should be: brutally honest, highly moral in all aspects of his life, a tireless crusader for good causes however hopeless, respected by everyone including his opponents, and a virtual pacifist.
  • The Novelization of Revenge of the Sith describes Obi-Wan Kenobi thusly. He is powerful and nearly invincible in combat, but he's also wise and humble, preferring to negotiate his way out of trouble.

    Live-Action TV 
  • While Batman (1966) may be a parody of sorts, the fact of the matter is that this incarnation of Batman wants to be the Incorruptible Paragon and inspiration to the Gotham City masses.
  • Wonder Woman is the same; if you watch her whole show, the number of times you'll think "She could've handled that situation a little better" is somewhere around zero.
  • Star Trek:
    • Captain Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation is the pinnacle of 24th-century enlightened humanity, to the point that he's chosen as their representative when Q puts the species on trial. He favors diplomacy to force whenever possible, respects all forms of life, has no greater desire than to learn and explore, and knows exactly when to disobey the Insane Admiral or violate the Prime Directive.

      The only time this portrayal is played with is in Star Trek: First Contact when he briefly becomes consumed with getting revenge on the Borg even at the expense of his crew. When Lilly confronts him and compares him to Captain Ahab, he realizes his mistakes and regains his nobility. An argument once given in the eternal Kirk vs Picard debate was presented as such: Kirk is the kind of Captain and leader who many people would love to go on an adventure with and have a beer with afterwards, Picard is the kind many would willingly follow right into hell itself.
    • Captain Pike of Star Trek: Discovery is introduced as a charming Nice Guy before demonstrating himself as the embodiment of the ideals that The Federation and Starfleet profess. This is best shown when he has to obtain a time crystal as part of a mission to save the galaxy from a rogue AI. In order to prove himself worthy of the crystal, he is shown a vision of his Fate Worse than Death and then given a choice to walk away and escape this fate; he instead takes the crystal and consigns himself to his fate so he can save civilization itself. It helps that he also avoids many of the aspects of Picard's character that haven't aged well, showing far more empathy and willingness to listen to his crew.
  • When he finally stops being The Ghost or The Faceless in the second season of Supergirl, Superman lives up to his reputation of being The Cape and The Paragon. Essentially the only bad things you can say about this version of him is that he's initially suspicious of Lena Luthor because of her family name and has an understandable disagreement with J'onn, which they work out.
  • Poldark - In Season 1, Ross Poldark fights courageously in North America, graciously accepts his girlfriend's decision to marry his cousin, rescues a street urchin from poverty, dresses down an arrogant judge in righteous indignation, and in contrast to his corrupt cousin — doesn't have vicious habits (e.g., soliciting prostitutes).
  • President Josiah 'Jed' Bartlett from The West Wing is a more realistic version of this. While he does have flaws and makes tremendous mistakes over the course of his tenure, he ultimately cares for the smallest and meanest of his countrymen, and he wields his position and power with grave responsibility, never for personal gain. His example inspires his very competent staff, who at times may critique him to his face, but have nothing but unconditional love for him.

  • The song Holding Out For A Hero by Bonnie Tyler may possibly be describing one of these:
    Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods?
    Where's the street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds?
    Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
    Late at night I toss and I turn and I dream of what I need...


    Pro Wrestling 
  • The most prolific example of this in Pro Wrestling is good old Hulk Hogan. He was the ideal American hero who told kids to take their vitamins, pray their prayers, and be true to themselves. He would defeat the bad guys after taking some punishment and performing a Heroic Second Wind with the help of the "Hulkamaniacs" in the audience. This would later get more and more downplayed as Hulk would start using heel tactics like eye gouging, hair pulling, face stomps, and chair shots against the heels.
  • For the PG Era, we have John Cena from 2008 onwards, part All-American Face and part Action Hero, who would fight for the sake of the kiddies in the audience. He was a kind, friendly man who was unyielding in the face of foes like The Authority, Randy Orton, and Brock Lesnar. He is also known for helping other fellow faces whenever the forces of evil have the upper hand in a match by doing a run-in no matter how outmatched he is.
  • It's hard to believe, but Sting was originally this back in his earlier WCW days. His initial gimmick was that of a blonde California Surfer Dude. Charismatic and unflinchingly kind, the lovable Sting fought against the hedonistic and arrogant The Four Horsemen during the early days of WCW. Thanks to his good deeds and personality, Sting became the face of early WCW, beloved by kids and adults alike. He was the first to directly confront the invading Outsiders (Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, pre-nWo) and asked help from old rivals Ric Flair and Arn Anderson in an attempt to defend WCW from them. He was present during the nWo formation and was just as shocked as everybody to see Hulk Hogan turn his back on the WCW fans. Thanks to an nWo imposter, the WCW he gathered to resist the nWo turned their backs on the Stinger during the annual WarGames match and this caused Sting to finally snap. At a later Nitro episode, Sting would launch into an angry rant. This is the last we saw of "Surfer" Sting, as Sting would later return as the silent and creepy vigilante we all know and love.
  • In Lucha Libre, in his movies and arguably real life El Santo is this. He was the top Face in Lucha Libre. In his movies, he would defeat otherworldly threats like vampires and zombies For Great Justice. In real life, he would give back to the community who loved him through charity and giving public support to many causes in favor of Mexico's poor.

  • Dino Attack RPG had quite a few such agents, especially early on. Zenna, Rex (at least, prior to the Adventurers' Island arc), Andrew, Zachary (pre-Stromling), and David being good examples- and that's just among the primary characters. Pierce could also be considered an example, although justified by the fact that he's a doctor.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Nomine: The Archangel Michael likes this trope even if he doesn't embody it himself, as he's the patron of the ancient concepts of the Hero and the Champion and wants to foster the concept of sound, upright heroism among mortals. This is his major reason for hating Nybbas, whose Media spreads the idea that the Anti-Hero is cool.

  • Optimus Prime from (almost) every incarnation of Transformers is the noble, dignified, courageous, self-sacrificing, compassionate leader of the heroic faction, with many versions verging on Messianic Archetype. If Optimus Prime is involved, it's usually not a question of whether he'll attempt a Heroic Sacrifice, it's how many he'll attempt, and whether achieving one will lead to him staying dead or if he'll just Determinator his way back to life to continue protecting innocent people from evil space robots. Some versions do meddle with this setup - the one in the IDW comics has plenty of skeletons in his own closet, even though he is still a hero, and the version in Transformers: Animated starts out a decent but not saintly person who's in over his head and has to undergo Character Development to live up to his archetype - but most versions default to the endlessly forgiving, superhumanly idealistic and moral Robo-Jesus version.
    Optimus Prime: Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.

    Video Games 
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy gives us the Warrior of Light, a Strong and Skilled swordsman, clad in blue armor (complete with a cape) who fights For Great Justice and to uphold Cosmos' honor. Singularly devoted to ending war and bringing peace to the world, he's never even remotely swayed by the villains trying to bring him to their side or get him to give up fighting, remaining staunch and resolute in his trust in Cosmos, and his immunity to breaking speeches make him an example for the other heroes follow. He's so ridiculously heroic and stalwart that he almost comes across as a parody or a Flat Character, but his Mysterious Past as a Manikin–a kind of artificial soldier–who gained self-awareness and a lasting personality after repeated memory wipes illustrates the depths of his character: although he was designed for war, fighting for Cosmos gives his life a purpose he's happy with. He's also a very insightful and thoughtful person.
  • Master Chief of Halo. He is always fearless even in the face of circumstances putting humanity and every other species in the galaxy at risk of becoming extinct, and always puts the welfare of others above himself even when it's inconvenient for him. His AI Cortana chose to be assigned to him over of every other Spartan because she had a feeling that he was destined to become a unique hero with luck on his side. Whilst it's strongly implied that Master Chief was widely admired by everyone in Halo 2 when he was greeted by a crowd of cheering servicemembers and media cameras upon his return to the Cairo Station orbiting Earth. Chief not only exemplifies selflessness and bravery, but also is devoid of vindictiveness and revenge seeking as exhibited by his willingness to easily work and get along with The Arbiter despite him previously serving the Covenant. The Halo 3 Marketing campaign 'Believe' was not subtle in showing how the human race began to ultimately see Master Chief as the epitome of an Ideal Hero, the Marine veterans interviewed decades after the war brought up how he was a source of hope on the battlefield when they had none, one in particular was moved upon recalling the moment when Master Chief told him that no soldier should be honoured for doing what was expected and that he still believes in that principle. The viral campaign ended with a quote from the manual of Halo: Combat Evolved; "A hero need not speak. When he is gone, the world will speak for him".
    • Commander Miranda Keyes also displays characteristics of this trope. Being a bold and widely respected Naval Officer on her own terms rather than relying on her war hero father's fame for status. Miranda on multiple occasions has shown that she isn't afraid to get directly involved in combat, even saving Humanity in Halo 2 when she stopped the second Halo ring from firing. In Halo 3 she doesn't leave the compromised Crows Nest base until all her Marines had been evacuated first, going as far as flying one of the evacuation Pelicans herself. She is also the most willing to make difficult decisions that other leaders are reluctant to make, as exemplified when she was eager to send the UNSC fleet into the recently unearthed portal to the Ark in Voi despite the UNSC leader Lord Hood seeing it as too risky, and later personally leading the airborne assault on the Ark's control centre. Her noble personality also served to her disadvantage, as she dies during a failed and poorly planned attempt to rescue Sergeant Johnson, whom the Prophet of Truth was using as the required human specimen to activate the Ark. Upon realising that they couldn't escape, Johnson wanted to do a suicide pact with Keyes so neither could be used to activate the ring, she couldn't pull the trigger after pointing her pistol at Johnson and got shot by Truth, leading to the Ark being activated by Truth by forcing Johnson's hand on the controls (which Master Chief later reverses). Before forcing Johnson's hand on the control panel, The Prophet of Truth commented on her personality; "Your forefathers wisely set aside their compassion. Steeled themselves for what needed to be done. ... You were weak.. and gods must be strong.".
  • Chrono Trigger: Crono: he's kind, selfless, inspirational, brave, and a loyal, loving friend. He is literally the greatest hero in history.
  • Every incarnation of Link from The Legend of Zelda is this. Child or adult, farmboy or knight, chosen or not, Link always displays talent with a wide array of weapons and tools, a strong sense of justice, humility, selflessness, and determination.
  • Paragon Commander Shepard of Mass Effect is a Reconstruction of this trope after a parade of anti heroes and bloodthirsty warriors in video games of all genres had been popping up for a good amount of time. While Paragon Shepard does enter Good Is Not Soft often (especially in Mass Effect 2), is a Combat Pragmatist, and every now and then breaks the law, s/he only does so when s/he has no other choice and when attempting to pursue the greater good, and will never break it if it would result in innocents being hurt in the process. In the end, Shepard's good, forgiving and selfless nature and absolute trust in others come back to reward him/her time and time again when s/he needs it the most.
  • Darth Jadus in Star Wars: The Old Republic is this from a Sith perspective, being one of the few Reasonable Authority Figures they have (making him more of an Ideal Villain). He has strong emotions which give him immense Dark Side power, but he doesn't allow those emotions to drive him into stupid or self-destructive behavior. He is properly meritocratic, caring only if someone can get the job done with little to no bias against aliens or the Force blind. And finally, he harshly punishes failure, but is equally rewarding of success. He is, in short, nearly the perfect Sith, having all the strengths of their philosophy with none of the weaknesses it usually brings. Even the Emperor calls him not only the best Sith in The Empire, but the best Sith the Empire has ever had.
  • Hilbert in Last Scenario really, really wants to be this kind of hero, but he rapidly finds that he's in the wrong genre. He still manages to be much more heroic than is typical for the setting, and of five characters who Jumped at the Call, he's the only one who doesn't become a Fallen Hero.
  • Fate/stay night: No matter what the route, Shirou Emiya tries to be an Ideal Hero. However, the story challenges the idea of the ideal hero and whether it's really an attainable goal for any psychologically normal person. The answer it comes to is no, not really, and it won't make you happy to be one either. It's still an admirable goal even if you can't do it, though, and even the bitter Archer (an Alternate Future version of Shirou) still finds the dream beautiful. In the routes themselves, Shirou can give up the dream for his loved one, do the best he can to achieve it by saving as many as possible, or dedicate himself fully to it while knowing the pain and hardship he'll endure, but with the caveat the woman he loves is waiting for him on the other side when it's over.
    • His adopted father Kiritsugu further deconstructs this trope, as he learned throughout his years as a Hitman it is impossible to save everyone. His goal in the Grail War is to make the world a better place, too bad it was all in vain.
  • Assassin's Creed III: Connor Kenway fights for freedom, equality, and justice above all else. He's primarily motivated by his need to protect his people, but he falls into the American Revolution because their goals tend to align. His White-and-Grey Morality even allows him to see the positives of the Templar ideology without being tempted by them. In fact, he's so dedicated to his beliefs of co-operations that Minerva said that it was her hope that humanity could put aside their differences and collaborate to avert the catastrophe that threatened the world. Juno fomented this conflict for her own ends, which means had Connor succeeded, he could have been the Spanner in the Works. His interactions with the Homestead residents seem to imply that, in a better world, he'd rather fight For Happiness.
    Connor: “Sometimes standing against evil is more important than defeating it. The greatest heroes stand because it is right to do so, not because they believe they will walk away with their lives.”
  • The Hero of the Quest for Glory series can be played this way, while The Paladin is this trope. The player is outright told by Rakeesh that the Paladin must do what is right, even if the right thing to do isn't lawful (in Quest for Glory III he breaks the law to give food to a convicted thief). His powers are also based around honorable behavior (doing good deeds, being honest), and performing dishonorable acts will cost him the use of his abilities.
  • Leonhardt Raglen in Record of Agarest War is the most heroic protagonist out of the entire series as he is selfless, responsible, all-loving, willing to sacrifice his life for a little girl who is hunted by his very own nation, and is badass enough to kill the guy who killed him in the first place.
  • Artix von Krieger from Artix Entertainment games: AdventureQuest, DragonFable, MechQuest, and AdventureQuest Worlds can be this. He's a magic Knight in Shining Armor who is incorruptible, noble, polite and protects the innocent. However, he's also a Blood Knight who hunts The Undead and really loves it.
  • Skies of Arcadia, and its protagonist Vyse in particular, is notable for being a return to cheerful idealism after a long trend of ever-increasing grayness in RPGs.
  • In Bug Fables, the leader of Team Snakemouth, Kabbu, is one of these. He's driven by a genuine desire to do good in the world, and he wants to help everyone he meets. If he sees another bug in trouble, he's practically incapable of ignoring them, to the occasional teasing of his teammates. And while he does have a Dark and Troubled Past, it ends up being a very heroic sort of troubled past— he and his former teammates were crossing a treacherous land and were attacked by a vicious monster. He wasn't able to save them.
  • Rudy Roughnight from Wild ARMs. He's brave, selfless to a fault, and willing to help anyone who needs it, no questions asked. Even his fellow heroes remark on his goodness, often expressing puzzlement over how he can have such a good nature in a world that doesn't exactly reward it.
  • Perun, an optional Blade from Xenoblade Chronicles 2, acts as one of these in a sort of middle ground between the similarly heroic Blades Godfrey and Perceval. This is best exemplified in the DLC sidequest "Cleared of All Charged", in which a farmer reports a theft of his produce. While Godrey and Perceval go off to seek justice in their own ways (the former leaving to question the locals, the latter to slay all monsters in the vicinity), Perun stays behind to keep a watchful eye on the field.

  • The Order of the Stick has O-Chul, a paladin of the Sapphire Guard. He is honest and humble, courageous regardless of the odds, and compassionate to those around him. He always does the right thing and is committed to protecting the lives of everyone, regardless of the race of the being, all while doing his best to avoid unnecessary bloodshed. Word of God describes O-Chul as "everything right with the Paladins".

    Web Original 
  • Skyhawk, one of the superheroes of Boston in the Whateley Universe. He always tries to do the right thing and stands for morality and righteousness. Most of Team Kimba views him as a big dork, and his determination to do things the right way very nearly got Generator and Bladedancer killed by supervillains.

    Western Animation